So you’re interested in taking lessons with me? THAT’S AWESOME! I am really looking forward to teaching you!
Are you interested in guitar? piano? voice? I can teach all three, and I specialize in beginners and intermediate students. This means something different for each instrument, so please read on.
Students are usually ready to try piano and guitar once they are at least in kindergarten. My reason for this is simple: kindergarteners know how to listen to someone other than mommy and daddy (hopefully!), they know what homework is, and hopefully, they can sit still for about a half hour. Does your 5 or 6 year old meet this criteria? Great! Do you have a child younger than this that meets this criteria? That’s pretty impressive, actually. In either case, we can do a trial lesson to see how they enjoy lessons, how we work together, and if they are mentally ready to start. The last one is really kind of a biggie – if they are just not ready for lessons, forcing them into it will be a bad experience and could turn them off of music for the rest of their lives. If we need to wait a year or two to ensure that your child has a great music experience, then that’s what we’ll do.
For guitar lessons, students should already have a guitar. For younger students, you may even need to purchase a half or 3/4 sized guitar (yes, they make those!). For beginners, almost any guitar will do, so do not feel pressured to go out of your price range, especially if you are not sure your child will stick with it. A good acoustic guitar is a less expensive way to go than electric, and is also the best way to start a student off (I highly suggest acoustic over electric every time). There will be many options at a place like Guitar Center or Sam Ash, or even at your local, independently owned music store!
For piano lessons, a beginner can start on a keyboard if a piano is not available. Again, there are a wide variety of keyboards available at different price points, so do not venture out of your price range if you are not comfortable. To get the most out of your keyboard, I strongly suggest getting one with touch sensitivity (not all of them have this feature!) and a pedal input (for when they are ready to start with the pedal). If you are unsure when you can upgrade to a piano, or if you are in a living situation where getting a piano is just not possible, a keyboard with these two features could last them a lifetime.
For both guitar and piano students, I start out with method books (books used to teach music fundamentals). After about a year or two, students usually learn enough to be able to branch out into easy classical and pop pieces. As students age and progress, I encourage them to explore different kinds of music, and consider their interests and input when picking out repertoire. After all, if they don’t like the music, they won’t practice, and if they don’t practice, they’ll never get better.
I know little kids love to sing, but voice students need to wait just a few years before they are ready for their first lesson. The very nature of voice lessons can be a bit confusing for young students. After all, they can’t see their instrument and do not manipulate it with their hands. Since there is no visual reinforcement or physical touch involved, it can sometimes be hard to create the sounds you want, or to understand basic music theory concepts. Many voice teachers have strong opinions on when a child should start their lessons. I know some teachers who refuse to take on a student unless they are already in high school, especially boys with their pronounced voice changes through puberty. I, however, do enjoy working with the younger set, and will gladly start lessons with a student who is 10 or older. When we start out, though, I insist on a little bit of learning how to play the piano through the first year or two, to better understand musical concepts like note values, pitch names and rhythm. A stereotype perpetuated through the ages is that singers aren’t “real musicians,” and it is often because they have not learned and do not understand things about notation that other musicians know inside and out. I won’t let that happen to my students, and if you believe in music education, hopefully you won’t let that happen either. Singers are musicians, too!
Therefor, when starting voice lessons, I encourage students to get a keyboard as well. It will be an important tool in their musical journey (and if I am traveling to your house for voice lessons, I will be using it as well).
I have a few different voice books that I use with students. I have a good go-to book for young beginners full of folk and early American popular music that has been specially arranged for children. I have also in the past worked with many students on Broadway tunes as well. If they enjoy singing but want to keep it light and fun, Broadway is the way to go!
Where do lessons happen?
The answer to this question is basically, your place or mine? If you live in the Perth Amboy, Woodbridge or Metuchen area, I can easily travel to you. This is your best bet for lessons throughout the week. I am currently working on preparing my own studio space, which will be available for lessons on Saturdays where you come to me. This will be an excellent set up for students who only have a keyboard at home, as it will give them a chance to work on a real piano once a week.
Ready to go?
Head over to my “Contact Me” page to drop me a line! I can send you my full resume, studio policies and price sheet.